Apple files patent for camera hidden behind display

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
We've already seen the iSight indicator light "disappear" behind the bezel of Apple's MacBook and iMac computers. A recently published patent application could make the iSight itself not only disappear, but move to the middle of the screen. MacBooks, iMacs, and even iPhones and iPod touches could take advantage of the new technology.



Submitted in July 2007, theÂ*filingÂ*details plans for a camera mounted behind a display that could capture an image "while the display elements are in an inactive state (in which the display elements are darkened and at least partially transparent)."



According to the document, a similar, additional system could involve two or more cameras, with software combining the two images into one.Â* Video would also be possible by cycling the display "between the active state and the inactive state repeatedly."



However, this doesn't necessarily mean a 'dark spot' would appear on the screen during photos, or even start flashing during video capture.



"In some embodiments, the mechanism is configured to substantially minimize the period of time in the inactive state to reduce the appearance of flicker of the display screen."



The filing explains how today's built-in cameras require a user to look away from the lens in order to see his or her video conferencing participants. Â*



"Constantly looking back and forth between the display screen and the camera ... can be distracting and make the conversation seem awkward and unnatural."



This would appear to improve upon a similarÂ*June 2004 filingÂ*that involved many tiny image sensors wedged between LCD cells, and software to stitch together all of the smaller pieces.







In an image attached to the application, a cross-section diagram illustrates a focused "image-capturing mechanism" aimed at a user through the screen.



Another presents a MacBook with no iSight lens on the top bezel (and apparently being used by a President Bush lookalike).







While rumors have already circulated for some time of what might best be called "iChat AV Mobile" for the iPhone, this proposed patent seems to confirm the very real possibility of such a feature for the iPhone, iPod touch, and even other devices.



"The display screen is coupled to a laptop computer, a desktop computer, a cellular phone, a personal digital assistant (PDA), an electronic organizer, a media player, an advertisement-generation mechanism, a security mechanism, an automated teller machine (ATM), an instrument console or control panel, or another electronic device."



Other recently published Apple patent filings include one for anÂ*improved laptop display housingÂ*that integrates the familiar illuminated Apple logo behind the screen. Â*Another describes aÂ*stiffening plateÂ*for a laptop's palm rest that would help save weight by making it possible, for example, to replace heavily metal-reinforced Superdrive housings with aluminum housings.



Apple has also devised a way to simplify the architecture within its iPhone and iPod touch devices, which currently need three chips just to interpret the touch sensor.Â* AÂ*new single chip designÂ*would be better equipped to lessen electrical interference and further improve touch screen response.



One last filing seeks to improve the efficiency and consistency ofÂ*LED-lit displays.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    irelandireland Posts: 17,793member
    I very rarely even use mine.
  • Reply 2 of 32
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Sounds pretty cool, but I disagree that this is an "improvement" on the previous patent. The previous idea was an elegant, simple design. This is more like a kludge (flicking the screen on and off 60 times a second), and would also affect the overall design of laptop/iphone screens in a negative way.



    The proof is in the pudding as they say though, so if this one works and the other one still doesn't, then it's certainly a winner.
  • Reply 3 of 32
    Nobody will probably believe me, but I sent Apple an email in 2003 suggesting to them they embed camera detectors between the pixels of their screens. To this day I wonder if they took my idea and patented it. I am the idiot for not doing that myself in the first place.
  • Reply 4 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zmonster View Post


    Nobody will probably believe me, but I sent Apple an email in 2003 suggesting to them they embed camera detectors between the pixels of their screens. To this day I wonder if they took my idea and patented it. I am the idiot for not doing that myself in the first place.







    if only you had kept the email
  • Reply 5 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zmonster View Post


    Nobody will probably believe me, but I sent Apple an email in 2003 suggesting to them they embed camera detectors between the pixels of their screens. To this day I wonder if they took my idea and patented it. I am the idiot for not doing that myself in the first place.



    Yeah right, just like they did the same with that little girl.



    This should signal Apple's intent on actually using the technologies they've developed in the labs. Sadly, with today's Palm's announcement, induction charging, Apple won't be the first to woo us with wireless electricity wizardry.
  • Reply 6 of 32
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,313member
    I guess the patent illustrator couldn't find any other illustration to use on that laptop except for the one of George W Bush.
  • Reply 7 of 32
    How is this new news????



    I thought everyone saw this reported on MacRumors a couple years ago.
  • Reply 8 of 32
    nohmnohm Posts: 10member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ChuckGee View Post


    Sadly, with today's Palm's announcement, induction charging, Apple won't be the first to woo us with wireless electricity wizardry.



    Yea, even if they do come out with a cheap and efficient system, I'd have to decline because there's no need for another rapid cancer inducing technology. I'm not "dying" to go completely wireless..
  • Reply 9 of 32
    As nifty as this is, I do prefer a camera that I can cover with a small piece of electrical tape. Just to be sure.
  • Reply 10 of 32
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Will Apple have a booth at next year's CES?

    Will Ballmer take on SJ in a battle of the keynotes?
  • Reply 11 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post


    I guess the patent illustrator couldn't find any other illustration to use on that laptop except for the one of George W Bush.



    I was just scrolling down to post the exact same comment!!
  • Reply 12 of 32
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    I very rarely even use mine.



    The camera or the display?
  • Reply 13 of 32
    irelandireland Posts: 17,793member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    The camera or the display?



    Good one.
  • Reply 14 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mr_cazorp View Post


    As nifty as this is, I do prefer a camera that I can cover with a small piece of electrical tape. Just to be sure.



    I thought I was the only one who did that. A very neat, small, circular cover.



    Yup, a camera you can't even see isn't such a good idea, especially on a computer that's looking at you or your home all day.
  • Reply 15 of 32
    robb01robb01 Posts: 148member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post


    I guess the patent illustrator couldn't find any other illustration to use on that laptop except for the one of George W Bush.







    _____________

  • Reply 16 of 32
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post


    I guess the patent illustrator couldn't find any other illustration to use on that laptop except for the one of George W Bush.



    At least have him flicking off the Libs so we can get a laugh.
  • Reply 17 of 32
    placing bush's image on the drawing can also be a form of "time-stamping" the picture, for whatever that's worth.
  • Reply 18 of 32
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zmonster View Post


    Nobody will probably believe me, but I sent Apple an email in 2003 suggesting to them they embed camera detectors between the pixels of their screens. To this day I wonder if they took my idea and patented it. I am the idiot for not doing that myself in the first place.





    There isn't much space between pixels, the gaps are something like 0.025mm. Even if you knock out an entire pixel every 10 pixels, I don't know if that's going to give us an affordable display like that before the patent expires, and we get a screen that has a visible grid of dead pixels. There isn't much of a lens that can be fit in a 0.25mm square. As awkward as it is to have a camera at the edge of a screen, that's the best that can be done affordably on a notebook. If you can afford depth, maybe a camera behind a teleprompter-like device will get you the most natural video conversation that you can reasonably get.
  • Reply 19 of 32
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bombay2008 View Post


    if only you had kept the email



    Oh, I HAVE the email. And the email headers that include how it was routed from my machine to Apple, and all that. I didn't make my post to impress anyone, or waste my time. I really did send Apple that email. That doesn't mean they didn't think of it before me. What's done is done and I wish Apple the best.
  • Reply 20 of 32
    kreshkresh Posts: 379member
    ... until the government finally has those George Orwell television sets they have wanted for years.



    Thanks Apple!
Sign In or Register to comment.